18th American Regional Meeting

Latin America and Caribbean sign a Declaration to free the region from Child Labour

The Declaration states that the persistence of child labour, especially its worst forms, is a factor that exacerbates social inequality, which deepens social and economic vulnerability

News | 17 October 2014
Lima (ILO News) - Ministers of Labour from the Caribbean gathered at the 18th American Regional Meeting of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Lima, Peru, are among representatives from 25 regional member States to have signed the Declaration of the ‘Establishment of the Regional Initiative: Latin America and The Caribbean Free of Child Labour.’

Bahamas, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago endorsed a Declaration on the Latin American and Caribbean Free of Child Labour Regional Initiative which follows up from the 2013 Brasilia Declaration against Child Labour, signed by 154 countries in Brazil. Belize, Saint Kitts and Nevis and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines have expressed interest in signing the Declaration.

Charles Ogle, Chief Labour Officer, Guyana Hon. Michael Miskin, Minister of Labour, Environment and Technology, Suriname Hon. Errol Mcleod, Minister of Labour and Small and Micro Enterprise Development,
Trinidad and Tobago
The "Regional Initiative for Latin America and the Caribbean Free of Child Labour" was launched a year ago at the Third Global Conference on Child Labour, where several countries shared their concern about slow progress in this area.

Latin America and the Caribbean committed to eradicate the worst forms of child labour by 2016 and to eliminate all forms of child labour by 2020, which is unlikely to be achieved if progress continues at this pace. In fact, the ILO noted, it would require at least 40 years to achieve the goal of eradication. Indeed, the region could become the first child labour-free developing region in the world.

In recent years important achievements have been made in reducing child labour by 7.5 million.  According to the ILO, child labour is estimated at 12.5 million in Latin America and the Caribbean, of which the vast majority, 9.5 million, are in hazardous work. "This initiative unites us all in Latin America and Caribbean," said the Minister of Labour of Peru, Freddy Otárola, who is President of the 18th American Regional Meeting, and who was responsible for presenting the initiative to the American Regional Meeting.

During the presentation of the initiative at the plenary sitting of the Regional Meeting, the ILO Director-General said "the initiative is part of a global effort to restore the rights of 168 million children and adolescents affected by the scourge of child labour." It calls for a broad commitment and mobilization of all institutions, agencies and actors involved with the present state of children and adolescents and with the future of the region.

The initiative is also designed to accelerate the prevention and eradication of child labour, and includes a number of interventions to strengthen the mechanisms of action and identification of the practice.

The Declaration states that the persistence of child labour, especially its worst forms, is a factor that exacerbates social inequality, which deepens social and economic vulnerability. The current signatories to the Declaration are:

Argentina, The Bahamas, The Plurinational State of Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, The Dominican Republic, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay and The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

For more information on this regional initiative please visit: www.iniciativaregionalcontraeltrabajoinfantil.org

Dawn Lafond, ILO Office for the Caribbean lafond@ilo.org
Averlon Toussaint, ILO Office for the Caribbean toussaint@ilo.org
Tel: +(868) 627-6304; 623-7178; 623-7704; 625-0524
Fax:+(868) 627-8978